Can You Afford Not to Print with Kodak Flexcel NX Plates?

There are numerous selling points of the KODAK FLEXCEL NX System which in combination, can drastically minimise operational costs. In this article, we dive into the core reasons why we believe that more print shops should convert to using FLEXCEL NX plates.

 

Comparing the Basics

In comparison with other LAMS layer plates (both flat-top dot and standard), the FLEXCEL NX System delivers a robust plate-making process. The CTP device does not require continuous calibrations, is extremely stable and has been designed for longevity. Devices that have been in the market since 2008, are still currently running at full capacity, seven days a week.
Breakdown calls through the years have been minimal, though spare parts are readily available on the rare occasion that an element needs replacing.

The imaging laser is of exceptional quality and is ultra-consistent in delivering the highest quality flexo plate on the market today. The FLEXCEL NX System is also the only device that can image square spot dots.

 

Thermal Imaging Layer

The most prominent feature is the Thermal Imaging Layer – a unique high-resolution film that is imaged instead of imaging the plate directly. The image is always linear and no adjustment is needed (even across/around the drum) as its measurements are exact matches of the digital image.
Theoretically, there is no difference between images if a rotation happens in order to fit the image on a template. Although the downstream processing equipment may have an effect through the processor or washout.
Once the high-resolution film has been imaged, it is laminated by pressure to the polymer plate through an automatic laminator. The plate can be of a variety of thicknesses.
Through the lamination process, there is zero chance of oxygen inhibition during the polymerization process, thereby doing away with the need for a bump curve.

The imaging process takes roughly 3 minutes for a full sheet and the lamination takes approximately 1 minute, allowing the plate-maker the opportunity to perform other tasks such as quality checks and administrative work. This means that there is a 4-5 minute wait until the main exposure of the plate.
The FLEXCEL NX System proves to be the fastest system: a full 6 colour plate imaging job can be completed before 1 sheet of LAMS layer plate has been written on a standard CTP device.

Due to the combination of KODAK SQUARESPOT Imaging Technology and the Image Layer acting as a lens, a light source is created that resembles a straight tubular form. This is in contrast to the Gaussian Laser effect, which is similar to the light emitted from a torch; strong in the centre, and fading as you reach the outer edge. The FLEXCEL NX System’s laser is also approximately 30% finer, allowing for finer dots to be produced.

One of the major differences is the shape of the dot:

The dot shape plays a crucial role in a number of ways, namely plate life and latitude on press. If the base of the dot is not properly supported, it will break under pressure. Additionally, the more pressure you apply the quicker the plate wears and the higher your dot gain is. Due to the FLEXCEL NX System’s lamination process, all dots are the same height and uniform, regardless of whether you are printing a 1%, 50% or solid. The flat-top dot (pioneered by Kodak in 2008) allows the ink to be more stable during the run and has less dot gain effect if pressure is increased. The FLEXCEL NX plate certainly runs a lot cleaner, and there are fewer stops on press due to ink buildup.

For more in-depth information and an outline of the benefits of the Kodak FLEXCEL NX System, read through the write-up here.

Find out more about the Kodak FLEXCEL NX System by contacting Jason on 082 321 0587 or via email at jasong@thunderbolt.co.za.

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